It is far better to have low blood pressure than it is to have high. Around 30% of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but sadly they won’t know they have it. It’s known as the silent killer because the symptoms aren’t obvious.
If left untreated high blood pressure can increase the risk of a heart attack, or a stroke. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked every 5 years. If after two or three readings your blood pressure measures 140/90 or higher, you are said to have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). A normal blood pressure reading should be below 130/80.
Anyone with a family of high blood pressure can be at risk, but as we age, our chances of having high blood pressure increase. Other factors include:
- Being overweight;
- Consuming too much alcohol;
- Other family members having high blood pressure;
- Being over 65;
- Consuming too much salt;
- Not eating enough fruit and vegetables, or
- Not exercising enough.
If you think you fall into the above categories, it’s important to bring your blood pressure down. We must maintain a better lifestyle, introduce more exercise, consume less salt and cut back on alcohol if we’re to bring blood pressure down to a controllable level, but we need to make sure it stays down.
It’s usually a poor lifestyle that triggers high blood pressure. Anyone with a consistently high reading must be closely monitored, until such a time their blood pressure is brought back under control.
Medication may not always be needed if high blood pressure can be controlled by a better lifestyle, but in any event a better lifestyle is something we should all be trying to achieve.
Your doctor or physician will usually advise you which way to go.